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Secrets of low-key, Super Bowl-winning leadership

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in Profiles in Leadership

Many people think you need to be big and brash to lead.

Dick Cass, president of the Baltimore Ravens NFL franchise, runs a successful operation quietly, based on knowledge and skills but mostly on relationships.

How it breaks down:

• Cass has superlative skills as a lawyer, says Steve Sachs, a former partner and former attorney general of Maryland.

• He’s modest. He attended Prince­ton, followed by Yale Law School, but you’d never know it, says Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who himself attended a state college and named his first boat “C Student.”

“Usually, you meet people who graduated from Harvard or Yale and they figure out a way to tell you they graduated from Harvard or Yale within an hour,” Bisciotti says. “You could know Dick for a year and if you didn’t specifically ask him, you’d never know.”

• He solves problems. “He is not someone who has to always hear himself talk,” says NFL general counsel Jeff Pash. “He’s just someone who can listen, analyze, give good advice and come up with good solutions.”

• Above all, he’s a good human being. One day in 2006, during lunch in the cafeteria with some team executives, Cass said he’d need a few days off work because a former classmate needed a new kidney and Cass had volunteered one of his.

— Adapted from “Ravens hail their team president,” Rick Maese, The Washington Post.

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